November 17, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

It's no secret that I love Philadelphia and love racing there.  I was excited when the date for the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon finally got sorted out (the pope's visit caused some scheduling issues with the city) and could register thanks to my Rock 'n' Roll Tourpass School made scheduling things a bit of a mess later in this year so I was glad to be able to use this perk of being a Rock 'n' Blogger

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It was also a really special race because the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was my first half marathon ever. It was pretty surreal running it again 3 years, countless miles, and many awesome running adventures later. I had a really great race which was especially ehanced by the fact that I had VIP access for this race. I'll review just the VIP package perks for the race separately after this race recap.

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Pre-Race

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I stopped by the expo Friday afternoon down at the Convention Center. It was easy enough to get to and the big Rock 'n' Roll expos are always fun to shop around in. It was an extra fun because the race was actually on Halloween morning so there was some spooky decorations and bowls of candy when I picked up my bib.  Brooks Running is the gear sponsor and always has such cute race gear for sale, but I tried to restrain myself from dropping more money. 

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It was around the time that people started to get out of work so the expo was busy. I grabbed a pair of running capris on sale (plus a coupon!) at the Sports Authority booth and made sure to stop at the VIP table to grab my wristband that I needed to get into the VIP area on race day. Of course I sampled all of the snacks and looked at more running gear I don't need.  Honda had a fun interactive area where you sat in 3 different vehicles for three different activities for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip with friends to a Rock 'n' Roll race.  There was a fun photo booth car where they actually emailed you a little gif. 

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I didn't have any expectations for the race, especially since it was only 3 weeks after the Chicago Marathon and my running had been on the lighter side.  I got up earlyyyy running on not that much sleep, to make it into the city from NJ. It was fun taking the train in on a cold, dark morning and seeing who was wearing costumes. A guy dressed up as the running Forrest Gump sat next to me-he had no idea how running 13.1 miles in a pair of khakis was going to be!  

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Race

Once I got the race start area by the Philadelphia Museum of Art I walked up to the VIP area which was near the finish line. It was awesome because I got to grab a pre-race bagel from the continental breakfast and use the VIP port-a-potties (I literally waited only a few minutes!).  I also loved having the small VIP gear check right there so I said hi to Cynthia and waited until I had about 5 minutes to get into my corral. It was a pretty chilly morning, but I was just glad it wasn't raining or anything like the DC half marathon earlier this year.  Corral 6 was farther up so I had to speedwalk to get up there but eventually made it into the corral.  It was exciting to hear the elites start because many were trying for Olympic qualifying races! 

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I was a modified Minnie Mouse because temps were pretty cold plus I wanted to sport my Rock 'n' blog tee. I also really loved my matching Bondiband and Rock City Skirts sparkly skirt which went perfectly with my Minnie Mouse ears. I was worried the ears would bother me, but they stayed put and didn't move around at all. 

 My favorite part about the race was seeing all the costumes people were running in.  I saw animals, Star Wars characters, Disney princesses, and superheroes out on the course.  My plan was to see how my legs feel and keep it around an 8:00 min/mile pace. I know I say this often, but I really just wanted to have fun.  

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I felt pretty great for the first 6 miles and warmed up quickly. It's a flat and fast course which makes for great PRs. I had a weird twinge in my right calf all week so I had some KT tape on it, but luckily it wasn't bothering me. The race starts on the Ben Franklin Parkway and has you run through Fairmount Park on the right side of the Schuylkill River.  

Around Mile 8 once you get through parts of Fairmount Park there is a turnaround near over the Falls Bridge which has you running back towards the Art Museum on MLK Drive on the other side of the river. I was starting to feel a little tired but finished off my bottle of Nuun that I carried and ate half of a salted watermelon Gu packet.  The only thing about Philadelphia races is that most of them include those long, straight stretches along the river which can be boring or bad for your mind games. 

There was only a few bands on the course which seemed typical for the Rock 'n' Roll races. I always bring my iPod so it wasn't a big deal. There were some a couple groups like a school and cheer squad out there, which was awesome since it being a chilly Halloween morning.

Mentally miles 8-10 were tough, which is typical for half marathons for me.  Once I hit mile 10 I knew I didn't have much longer. I was running close to a 7:45 pace during the race, which felt comfortable. I kept telling myself that 3 weeks ago I ran freaking 26.2 miles so I could definitely finish half of that.   It's definitely when I needed to find my jams to bop along to as I ran. 

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I felt strong finishing and definitely pushed it that last 1.2 miles, finishing in 1:41:48. I'm always happy with a top 10% finish and had a better race than I expected! 

I was hungry and knew I'd finally be able to have some food! You finish right in front of the Art Museum and the infamous Rocky steps. The announcer for the race did a great job and called out names and some different facts about some of the finishers. It was easy to shuffle through the corral chute and there was plenty of food. The only thing I wanted was a bag to hold all of my snacks in because that was annoying.  

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Post-Race

I drank some chocolate milk as I walked to the VIP area again, which was not very long because it was right at the finish. Not too many runners were there yet so I immediately signed up for 10 minute massage (shout-out to Phila Massages-you rock!). My calves were really tight so it felt great to get them loosened up immediately after the race.  

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Afterwards I indulged in a mimosa (or 3) and a plate of hot breakfast food from the buffet, followed by multiple cups of coffee. Gin Blossoms were the concert after the race, and I got to catch a few of their songs, which was fun. I enjoyed hanging out in the VIP area before taking the VIP shuttle back to the host hotel with Cynthia before heading out of the city.  

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Overall

This race was an awesome start to my Halloween and is still one that will always be near and dear to my heart. 

I love how organized the event is and how it's such a great course. The medal and shirt are always fun-I especially loved how the medal is Halloween themed with a little witch on a broom.  I think it's a great race to run with friends or if you are looking for a fast, flat course to get a new half marathon PR on!

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This post was linked up with Tuesdays on the Run

Did you run any Halloween races? Have you ever run in costume? 

32 comments:

  1. Awesome race and recap! This race is definitely on my list for next year. I've never done a RnR race so I'm excited to move closer to some.

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    1. Thanks so much! RNR Philly is one of their best!

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  2. Thanks for the race review! This is one of the races I'm thinking about for next year. I love the Halloween theme.

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    1. Yay you should totally run it-it's a great race!

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  3. You said the word that warms my heart: organized! That's what I like most about races. For me, the standard is the Chicago Marathon. If they can be organized with 40K runners, smaller races should be able to do it easily.

    Great job!

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    1. Ugh the more races I run, the more important organization becomes! I LOVE Chicago for the same reasons! It's amazing.

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  4. GREAT recap! I don't know how similar the courses are but am now even MORE excited for Philly half this weekend!! I do know it starts/finishes at the same place and the Rocky steps.

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    1. Ah good luck! The courses are pretty similar, both include those long stretches along the river!

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  5. Awesome race finish time especially after running chicago 3 weeks earlier! I would love to run this race some year as I grew up outside of Philly! Loved your Minnie Mouse costume. So cute!

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    1. Thanks so much! I grew up outside of Philly too :)

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  6. Congratulations! I just completed the St. George marathon with the same A goal, however finished with the same B goal (actually, a 4 second difference). We're getting closer to sub-3:30. Definitely, the next go-around. Nice recap. What's next!

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    1. I thought I posted this on the Chicago recap. Oops! Congrats on a speedy half!

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    2. Haha, I figured it out! Thanks for stopping by and reading. We are definitely getting closer! I'm still trying to figure out if I want to tackle a spring marathon or just stick to halves. We'll see!

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  7. Oooh, that's quite the outfit! Love it! And RnR Philly is one of my all-time favorite races. Double bonus for you to get to run it in cooler-than-normal weather because they moved the race from mid-September. Great execution and congrats on your fast finish!

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    1. Thanks-it was fun to dress up a bit! The weather was perfect for running I though and glad you love RNR Philly as much as I do!

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  8. Love your costume! I wish it wasn't so crazy at the end so we could have hung out but I'm glad you had a great race! maybe next time I'll dress up... I feel like I'd be annoyed by my costume but it would be good for a fun run. Next up... Annapolis half? ;)

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    1. For sure! And yep I'll be there this weekend :)

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  9. I used to live 5 minutes from the start/finish of the Philly RnR and Philly marathon. It's some of my favorite memories, and I've logged more than my fair share of miles along the Schuylkill river :)

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    1. That's awesome! If I'm in town and close by, I love running along the Schuykill!

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  10. Looks like a wonderful event- congrats on your great race!

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    1. Thanks so much-it was a great time!

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  11. That's a great time! I love running by water -- it never gets old for me.

    Never ran in costume. Or run a Halloween race, for that matter.

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    1. I love running by water too. I felt like a costume was a must on Halloween!

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  12. Congrats on a great race! I also love this race - been running it for the better part of the last decade, and my dad ran it often back in the eighties.

    Can you believe how perfect the weather was this year?! It ended up being one of the best half marathons of my life!

    Very jealous of your VIP status as I had to wait 40 minutes in line for a portapotty and made it into my corral with 90 seconds to spare. But in the end it was truly a spectacular day for a race and everything worked out.

    Best of luck to you in your future races!

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    1. Thanks! Your history with the race is awesome! Yes the weather was surprisingly great and obviously things were much more fun with my VIP status

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  13. Great recap! I was bummed to miss this race because of injury, but will definitely be running it next year.

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    1. Thanks so much! If it works out with my schedule, I'll definitely be back!

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  14. Fun! I had really hoped to run this race, but when it got pushed back, it was a no go. Now I really want to get there next year...

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    1. Aw that stinks. I know the scheduling issues made things tricky for people

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  15. Way to rock that race Lauren! Looks like a great day all around. I swear RnR races just keep getting better and better!

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    1. I totally agree that they keep improving and listening to feedback!

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  16. Great job! I would love to do this one someday. I really wanted to do this one but a week after MCM I knew it wasn't going to happen for me :) Next year hopefully!

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